Norfolk 2 v Kent 3 - County badminton report
Norfolk's second team moved one step closer to securing their position in Division 4 East with an away win against Kent's third team last Sunday.
Norfolk who comfortably beat their opponents at home earlier in the season were looking for an equivalent performance to move them above their opponents in the standings. Starting later than usual, Norfolk opened their account positively with Daniel Leers and Serena Verney, continuing their good form, winning their singles matches in straight sets. Leers, who played in a tournament the day before showed no signed of fatigue as he comfortably despatched his opponent 21-17, 21-15. Alex Wyett added to Norfolk's early lead by battling through his singles in three sets, winning 21-19 in the third game. Lucy Curran was unable to add to Norfolk's tally but it was a good start for the visitors even so.
Norfolk's Men's doubles has been a little inconsistent this season. Today however, both pairs held their own extremely well. Wyett and James Ruthen recovered from their two losses last match winning both of their games. The second in a real 'game of two halves', 21-13, 9-21, 21-8. Paul Daynes and Leers added another game beating Kent's second pair in three sets, 21-17 in third.
Norfolk's ladies in contrast didn't have it all their own way. Their opponents, having strength in depth at home proved difficult to beat. Amber Nielsen and Katie Ruthen had two very tough three setters but were unable to convert their efforts. Curran and Verney although starting slowly, found some form against the Kent first pair winning comfortably 21-18, 21-13.
Tying the doubles, four games a piece left the match still in Norfolk's favour but not yet finished with the visitors still in need of one of the remaining three mixed games for the win. Daynes and Neilsen started the proceedings at number one. After some good wins earlier in the season, the pair who normally were are extremely consistent, faced a pair of equal qualities. The first game has very little to separate them, the Kent pair coming out on top 23-21. The second game was equally as close, with some rallies moving each partnership around the court and waiting patiently for the opportunity to attack. It was again that the kent pair took their chances though as they eventually won the second set 21-16. Verney and Ruthen had an equally close game, which went to three sets. The Norfolk pair battling well in the third set but could not convert their chances losing 21-16 in the third
This levelled the match at seven games a piece with Wyett and Ruthen playing the last mixed. It was yet another three setter, the visitors taking an early lead but being pegged back by some strong attacking play and a couple of unforced errors in the second. The Norfolk pair recovered well though, Ruthen serving excellently to setup a well deserved away win for the visiting team.
Although the division has now been won by Bedfordshire, Norfolk still have two games left to secure second place at the end of the season.